Sustainability

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Composting

What Can You Compost?

  • Hay and straw
  • Fresh Yard trimmings/grass
  • Dried yard trimmings/leaf litter
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Eggshells and tea bags
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Hair and fur
  • Paper, shredded newspaper, cardboard rolls and sawdust

What Cannot Be Composted

  • Dairy Products
  • Fat, grease, oil, and lard
  • Plastic or polyester
  • Overly salty or sugary food products
  • Coal, coal ash and barbeque coals
  • Meat, bones, and fish

What is Composting?

Compost is soil produced through the breakdown of organic material such as food and lawn waste.

before and after composting

Benefits

Free Composting Methods

Dig a Hole

Dig a small hole and fill with mixture of green and brown material, Cover the hole and in the spring you can plant above these to help grow healthy plants.

Pile

This method requires a fair deal of maintenance. It is best to have an 'organized' pile of brown and green sources. Layering the material is best, but they can be mixed with good results as well.

Bin

The goal is to contain the compost. You are able to throw the compostable materials into the bin and turn roughly twice a month. You can use bins, concrete blocks, wood pallets, etc.

Note

Both pile and bin methods need to be covered when it rains to keep out extra water. The compost needs to be moist but not soggy. A good way to tell if there is too much moisture is if you can squeeze out water.

Ratio

To manage a good compost pile there is a certain ratio of brown to green materials that needs to be maintained. Keeping this ratio in mind while managing your compost will result in a pile that does not smell and breaks down faster, all with less effort from you. This is done by having more, a lot more, brown material than green. While it is often recommended that the compostable materials be mixed at 30 parts brown to 1 part green, it is more of an art than a science and you will get to know what your pile's needs as you continue to work with it.

Smell

If a smell develops it most likely is due to the fact that there is more green material in the compost. To fix this try to add more brown material such as paper. When it rains, try to cover the bin with a tarp or plastic bags, anything to help keep the water out. If too much water gets into the pile it can create a smell.

Things To Watch Out For

Low airflow - add material that will allow airflow through the compost bin or pile. You can increase airflow with the addition of large sticks in the middle of the pile to create space.

Ways to Make It Look Nice

Before Digging

Call to locate buried utility lines: Call PA One Call at 811 or visit the PA One Call web site.

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